Al Franken fact-checks Ted Cruz

Sen. Al Franken has a book out May 30, 2017, with a chapter devoted to his U.S. Senate colleague, Republican Ted Cruz of Texas (screen image, Hatchette Book Group).
Sen. Al Franken has a book out May 30, 2017, with a chapter devoted to his U.S. Senate colleague, Republican Ted Cruz of Texas (screen image, Hatchette Book Group).

Sen. Al Franken's devotion of a chapter to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in his pending book, "Giant of the Senate," reminded us of a fact check.

Franken, D-Minn., recaps Cruz wondering aloud if Chuck Hagel, the senator then poised to serve as U.S. Secretary of Defense, personally fielded hundreds of thousands of dollars from Saudi Arabia.

That reminded us that around the same time, we found Half True a claim by Cruz that he'd repeatedly praised Hagel's character, bravery, patriotism and personal service to the country. We found four instances, but in each one--and in others where he aired no praise--Cruz hammered what he calls Hagel’s shortcomings so much so that colleagues cried foul. The missing context of this claim was that every time, Cruz's praise was overshadowed by pointed questions and/or critiques.

We did not obtain the book, which is to be released May 30. Rather, we relied on excerpts cited in tweets by Jonathan Tilove, chief political writer of the Austin American-Statesman.

Tilove further notes that Franken recapped a Cruz college roommate's public characterizations of Cruz and a vignette involving another senator testing a Cruz joke with the Texan.

"I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz," Franken writes. "And I hate Ted Cruz." He also writes that his wife, Franni, thinks Cruz is the proverbial love child of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and Dracula.

We're asking Cruz's press aides if the Texan has any comment on any of this. If so, we'll update this story.

Read Tilove's full peek into Cruz mentions in the Minnesotan's book.